Unprecedented legal aid by insurers

Australia’s General Insurance has made a first – a $250,000 donation to legal aid for insured flood victims – in Queensland.

Such a financial assist was not made even after the national financial screw-up by HIH, the hail storms in Sydney and Perth nor the Victorian bushfires in 2009.

In a significant gesture, the Insurance Council of Australia said it will provide $250,000 to Queensland Legal Aid to ensure the facility is able to provide appropriate assistance to policyholders affected by the flooding in Queensland.

Rob Whelan, ICA CEO broke the news just after Assistant Treasurer Bill Shorten issued a media release trumpeting: “Insurance industry embraces consumer changes on flood insurance.”

Mr Shorten said the 3rd meeting between the Federal Government and the Board of ICA had “resulted in clear wins for consumers and agreement between the Gillard Government and the insurance industry for further discussions on reform of flood related insurance.

“The government agreed with the ICA to develop a mandatory definition of ‘flood’ to be incorporated into the Insurance Contracts Act” and a plain-English, 1-page summary statement to help ensure consumers are aware of what their insurance policies cover.

Mr Shorten’s and the ICA’s statements followed a report by an independent hydrologist panel appointed by ICA on behalf of the industry into the flooding of Toowoomba.

Mr Whelan cautioned that the industry understood that not all policyholders would be covered for the recent floods in Queensland.

If policyholders disagreed with the decision from their insurer they were able to access internal dispute resolution processes.

“The funding from the industry is aimed at providing additional resources for Queensland Legal Aid to assist policyholders,” Rob Whelan said.

source: John Heath – InsuranceNewsAustralia.com